What would you have said if your children’s GP or teacher dressed up as a character from My Little Pony, either together with other adults or together with children? Would you be just as fine with it if he showed an interest in your children? I wrote about bronies on my Norwegian blog 2,5 years ago after the biggest newspaper in Norway had shown a documentary narrated by John de Lancie, who is probably mostly known for the character Q in Star Trek. I apparantly offended a lot of Norwegian bronies with that post. I wrote about it again yesterday after the same newspaper had published an article about a con in Baltimore where 10 000 adult fans, including 6 000 men, had met to play My Little Pony. I would still argue that this is creepy. The article is in Norwegian, but it includes some photos that show what I see as sexualizing children’s games.
I suppose some people see this as cool and/or sweet, and although some of my critics 2,5 years ago claimed that this was no different than my interest in Star Trek, I don’t exactly share their enthusiasm. It’s not cute to me when grown men dress up as a character they know will give them a lot of attention from girls as young as 4-5 years, and it’s equally disturbing that criticizing this is seen as a sign of narrow-mindedness.
There’s been many examples in recent years of boundaries being erased, and there is a lot of pressure to accept these changes. Some psycholoigists and sexologists for example claim that descriptions of sexual acts involving children are not automatically abuse, and that animation showing abuse is acceptable as there are no real victims.
I see bronies as a part of a similar development when grown ups use children’s toys and animated series to reach children and teenagers. I can understand why young women find it interesting, because to many of them this will be about a reunion with a childhood hero, or an interest they have kept since childhood. I can’t see what neurotypical men get out of these stories, though. I was excited about series like Star Trek, Star Wars, X-Men, Scooby Doo, The Jetsons, Flintstones and The Addams family as a kid. I could imagine myself dressing up (cosplay) as one of the characters during my teens and young adulthood. It would have been about having a connection to an important part of my childhood, a sort of farewell to a friendship I knew would have to change when I reached a certain age. It would be a sort of like the feeling I had while watching Toy Story together with my daughter, and the boy in the story left for college. Everything changes when you realize that childhood is over.
My Little Pony is intended for young girls, and as far as I have understood the brief clips I have picked up, the characters are mostly concerned with the things that small girls are concerned with. I think I would have the right to be worried about my daughter, and grandchildren, if my daughter eventually married a man that was more interested in My Little Pony than she was. I might be narrow-minded, but I do not find it charming when men want to play in the nursery, especially as many find it so unpleasant to think about abuse that they won’t even consider the possibility it might happen.